Daryl Palumbo Spreads Head Automatica Popaganda

Group tones down the party, turns up the 'white-boy soul' on its second album.

Daryl Palumbo hesitated mid-sentence and stalled. He was talking about Head Automatica’s forthcoming second record, but locked up when asked if the work’s been given an official title. It’s a question that shouldn’t be giving the likes of Palumbo — who, as frontman for Long Island, New York, hardcore outfit Glassjaw, has more than six years’ experience answering interview questions — as much stress as it is at the moment.

“Um… well … it does not have a title yet,” Palumbo said, his words sounding more like a question than an answer. “I mean, I think we have the title, but I just want to make sure it’s that sh–, that one. I think it is.”

The singer explained that the album will probably contain around 13 tracks, and be out in late May or early June. Oh, and Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Motörhead) produced it, and the recording is basically all done. “All Right — I’ll give you the title,” Palumbo blurted. “And if I say it, that means right here and now, it’s the title of the record. Do you want to know it? This is the first time I’m saying it, actually. Alright. The name of the album is Popaganda.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? “I’m pretty stoked on [the title], but it takes a while to make sure it’s perfect,” he continued. “This record has to be absolutely perfect in every respect, from the way it looks to the name. And I think it’s pretty near perfect.”

Originally considering a double album (“It’s ambitious, but then again, who the f— am I to do that?”), Head Automatica wrote more than 50 tracks for Popaganda, including “Laughing at You,” “Oxycontin,” “K Horse” and the likely first single, a tune called “Graduation Day.” All the material for the follow-up to 2004’s Decadence was recorded over three months in Los Angeles.

“The last record was a party album. This record is definitely not a party album,” Palumbo said. “It’s a power-pop record, but it’s not a party album. It’s not a ’Put it on and f—ing rock out’ record. This one has bangers, for sure. But the focus on this album is a [Beatles-era] backbeat sound, like mod-revival power pop. It’s as white-boy soul as you can get.”

This week, Head Automatica will gas up the old van and make a beeline from Los Angeles to Seattle for the start of a six-gig West Coast run with Morningwood. Then they’ll take a week off before heading for New Jersey, where they’ll start a string of East Coast dates.

Palumbo said Head Automatica will be touring as much as possible in 2006, and that he’ll also be buckling down and devoting serious time to Glassjaw’s next album, which could surface before the end of 2007 (see “Head Automatica’s Midas Touch Won’t Shatter Glassjaw” ). “[Guitarist Justin] Beck has songs, and I have songs and we have like three done,” the singer said. “We have older songs that weren’t on anything that we’ve revamped and made perfect now, but we’re still very much in the writing stages.” Palumbo said that the Glassjaw lineup, rounded out by drummer Durijah Lang and Saves the Day bassist Manuel Carrero, “sounds tighter and bigger and more brutal and heavier than it’s ever sounded. There’s a new record in the works. It’s been slow going, but its coming.”

Palumbo is also involved in a project called Shoot Frank, which features Hatebreed’s Sean Martin, Cage Kennels and El-P. Martin and Palumbo are additionally working on Heartless, the debut disc from their band House of Blow. “I sing, and it’s all really pretty-like, smoked-out hush vocals,” Palumbo said. “It’s like modern R&B — like Portishead meets Dipset or Three 6 Mafia. Real thug sh–.”